The Delmonico | Tom Camfield

Tom Camfield
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Posted 6/24/22

Sadly, I don’t have the names of any of these individuals striking a commemorative pose probably a short time before or after 1890. The McCurdy Building was erected in 1887, downtown at the …

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The Delmonico | Tom Camfield

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Sadly, I don’t have the names of any of these individuals striking a commemorative pose probably a short time before or after 1890. The McCurdy Building was erected in 1887, downtown at the northeast corner of the Water-Taylor St. intersection.

By my own youthful heyday of the 1950s and ’60s, early Saturday afternoon likely would have seen me with an older crowd that could have included John Siebenbaum (son of of one of the Del’s earliest proprietors), George Wenzler (formerly of Boston and one-time city treasurer), Claude Mitton (lifetime printer at the Leader), Del(ores) Thompson of Port Ludlow, Bruce Wagar (Farmers Insurance and Western Union agent, in for a lunchtime beer and game of cribbage), Sam Taylor (age 90) or Anne/Anna O’Rourke, daughter of 1910-’10 sailors’ boarding house strong-arm man Charles Gunderson in the years around 1900 . . .

And others, including reminiscent visitors who were great sources of local history along with Siebenbaum and O’Rourke. Claude and I worked half a day Saturdays at the Leader in those days. Via my acquaintance with Anne, who kept a room upstairs, I wound up with the historic old liquor cabinet that belonged to her father. It still sits in my living room these many years later (but sans liquor).

The early years of the McCurdy Building (1887) and the Eisenbeis Building next door (including the Delmonico Hotel and the Eisenbeis Hotel) are a bit sketchy, so I’ll just recommend as sources my own two books of local-area history and the Jefferson County ty Historical Society. I was gone in 1951-’54 (army service during the Korean War and finishing college at Berkeley) and again beginning of 1958 until late 1960 (partially owning, editing and publishing a northern-California newspaper}.

Otherwise, I’m pretty familiar with the premises after they were sold by Miles E. Brown in 1953, after he was elected county sheriff. His wife was Maxine Siebenbaum, a daughter of early Del proprietor John Siebenbaum. The business was sold to my uncle Frank Symonds that year, I believe, and he and my aunt Mary June sold it in 1970. It drifted downhill and eventually closed in favor of a dress shop.

I suspect the accompanying photo signals the opening of the business in its long-time location, the front door just east of the drug store (Harry O’Neill) on the Water-Adams corner. The sign in the window at right reads “Hotel,” which would have been upstairs.

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  • MargeS

    Thanks for this piece of history. I have a lot of information on the Delmonico, some good some not so good. Card games in the 70s that went all night (caused many divorces), but the dress shop was owned by John and Georgia Merry, their employees included Nora Porter. " John Merry The man who gave Port Townsend’s retail community such events as “No Foolin’ Days” and “Have Lunch On Us;” who ran ponies at Longacres; who with his wife Georgia opened and operated a highly visible and successful dress shop-Delmonico’s in the 1980s.

    Friday, June 24 Report this

  • Thomas Camfield

    Thanks for the update. I largely lost interest in the place after my Uncle Frank left. Mary June died fairly young of breast cancer. 'They ran a second-hand store at the top of the mill hill for a time after leaving the'Del. I probably also should have mentioned that the Delores from Port Ludlow was a guy. His mother must have wanted a girl. I guess I'm the only survivor of the crowd I mentioned.

    Saturday, June 25 Report this